Cubuy community in Naguabo promotes development of Destino 191
The Cubuy community in Naguabo is moving ahead with its effort to develop Destino 191: El Yunque del Caribe, a collaborative initiative backed by the US Forest Service and Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR).
The community seeks to implement a plan to revitalize and promote Route 191 as a “vibrant destination” that provides a second entrance to El Yunque National Forest.
The leaders of the Comité Pro Desarrollo de Cubuy Inc. recently held an Open House at the La Mina Community Center to present and validate with the community some of the efforts for the creation of Destino 191, such as a mural, an orchard-garden, community cleanup brigades and other beautification initiatives.
Additionally, community members had the opportunity to speak with FPR and the US Forest Service about community economic development possibilities for the area.
“The Cubuy community has been creating collaborative links for years through the Comité Pro Desarrollo de Cubuy. As members of the community, we recognize the value of our region and its great potential for economic development,” said Jimmy Piña, Comité chairman.
Through the alliances established with the Foundation for Puerto Rico and the Forest Service, we’re maximizing resources and launching the Destino 191 project,” he said.
“Once on track, the Comité will continue the work, in the same way that we have done so far with community brigades to beautify and clean the areas, among other initiatives,” said Piña.
Destino 191 is a project that was born from the community and that caught the FPR’s interest in 2020, when the BottomUp Destination Recovery Initiative program was working on the development of community destination plans for the region.
“El Yunque is not just Río Grande, it’s an extensive area that also encompasses the municipalities of Canóvanas, Fajardo, Ceiba, Naguabo, Las Piedras, Juncos and Humacao,” said Michelle Torres, FPR’s director of community planning.
“With this community initiative, our organization seeks to support the community in the development of Route 191 as a second entrance to El Yunque, and whose revitalization will ignite an engine of economic development for the community,” she said.
The Destino 191 project received funding through a partnership between FPR and the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency, which allocated $250,000 through the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge Act. The funds are used to aid in the planning and development of places that help improve the social, cultural and economic structures of rural communities.
An integral part of Destino 191 is collaborating with the community to develop and implement revitalization plans for the area. Together with community leaders, Destino 191 was identified as “a valuable asset with high economic potential,” representatives said.
The project actively involves residents, owners of small and medium businesses, community organizations, state government agencies, the municipality, and federal agencies.
The program execution period will last 24 months, ending Sept. 30, 2023.